Leonhard Schilbach, Simon Eickhoff, Thomas Schultze, Andreas Mojzisch and Kai Vogeley

To You I Am Listening: Perceived competence of advisors influences judgement and decision-making via recruitment of the amygdala.

Social Neuroscience

Considering advice from others is a pervasive element of human social life. We used the judge-advisor paradigm to investigate the neural correlates of advice evaluation and advice integration by means of functional magnetic resonance imaging. Our results demonstrate that evaluating advice recruits the "mentalizing network," brain regions activated when people think about others' mental states. Important activation differences exist, however, depending upon the perceived competence of the advisor. Consistently, additional analyses demonstrate that integrating others' advice, i.e., how much participants actually adjust their initial estimate, correlates with neural activity in the centromedial amygdala in the case of a competent and with activity in visual cortex in the case of an incompetent advisor. Taken together, our findings, therefore, demonstrate that advice evaluation and integration rely on dissociable neural mechanisms and that significant differences exist depending upon the advisor's reputation, which suggests different modes of processing advice depending upon the perceived competence of the advisor.